Katy Perry Woke Up. She Wants to Tell You All About It.

Thanks to Madonna’s restlessness, female pop stars are expected to reinvent themselves every few years, but there’s no guarantee that listeners will accept the changes. For Ms. Perry, the stakes couldn’t be higher: She believes she is now revealing her true self. The old Katy Perry is gone.

.. She has a well-known strategy for frustrating the paparazzi (wearing the same Adidas track suit when she leaves home to make the photographs less sellable)

.. For all of Ms. Perry’s talk about feminism and unity, it felt like a conventional catfight.

.. you have to understand her relationship to her biggest album, “Teenage Dream.” It had five No. 1 hits, tying a record Michael Jackson set with “Bad,” and solidified her image as a charmingly goofy sexpot who sings about love, partying and inner strength.

.. Part of the pressure stemmed from maintaining her hypersexual image, which Ms. Perry takes responsibility for helping create. “I used to be scared of intimacy, I used to use my sexualization as attention, I used to oversexualize myself because that was the only way I knew how,”

.. later explained why she holds queer women in high esteem: “I admire that they’re doing it for themselves. They are not doing it for the male gaze.”) It’s easy to read her drastic haircut and new stylistic choices — her live stream finale outfit covered her in neck-to-toe sequins — as a reaction to having worn whipped-cream bras in the past.

.. Ms. Perry credits her shift in perspective on her sexuality — she calls it “a full sexual liberation” — to resolving issues with her father. “The reality is that I was retriggered on the election,” she said. “I was retriggered by a big male that didn’t see women as equal. And that had been, unfortunately, a common theme in my upbringing.”

.. the Katy Perry I spent several days with: gregarious, intense, bold, endearing and full of contradictions.

.. she proclaimed herself devoted to dialogue but spoke in a near uninterrupted monologue.

.. The old Katy Perry wasn’t a construct, she explained, and she isn’t dead. “I didn’t kill her, because I love her, and she is exactly what I had to do then,”

The House Demands to See the Comey Memos

Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, fired off a letter to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, demanding that the bureau produce all “memoranda, notes, summaries, and recordings” of James Comey’s meetings with Trump no later than May 24.

.. Administration officials have pushed back against the report. The next day, however, Trump posted two tweets that appeared to confirm the disclosure, saying that he had an “absolute right” to “share with Russia” information related to terrorism.

Contradictions: Engagement in the Clouds

He en­vi­sions a fu­ture where, when a busi­ness needs some­thing done, “they is­sue the work or­der to the la­bor cloud and some­one picks up the work or­der and gets it done.” This al­lows the busi­ness “to get the work done with­out think­ing about the kind of re­la­tion­ship they have with the worker.”

Ob­vi­ous­ly, no sane man­ag­er should ex­pect “engagement” from the denizens of the “labor cloud”, any more than they can from the grow­ing chunk of the pop­u­la­tion work­ing for low pay in permanent-part-time mod­e. See? Con­tra­dic­tion!

Trumpism at Its Best, Straight Up

Donald Trump gave us Trumpism at its best on Tuesday night. And that was useful because it gave us a view of the political movement he represents, without the clownish behavior.

The first thing we learned was that Trumpism is an utter repudiation of modern conservatism. For the last 40 years, the Republican Party has been a coalition of three tendencies. On Tuesday, Trump rejected or ignored all of them.

.. global policeman

.. There used to be social conservatives, who believed that the moral fabric of the country had been weakened by secularism and the breakdown of the family. On Tuesday, Trump acted as if this group didn’t exist. He didn’t mention a single social issue — abortion, religious liberty, marriage, anything.

Finally, there used to be fiscal hawks who worried about the national debt. Trump demolished these people, too, vowing a long list of spending programs and preservation of entitlement programs.

The Republicans who applauded Trump on Tuesday were applauding their own repudiation. They did it because partisanship is stronger than philosophy, but also because Reagan conservatism no longer applies to current reality.

.. The old Reagan conservatism was economic individualism restrained by social and religious traditionalism.

.. But in the 1990s conservatism devolved from a flexible balance to a crude anti-government philosophy, the Leave Us Alone coalition.

.. Regular Republicans didn’t want more freedom and more risk in their lives. They wanted more protection and security.

They wanted a father figure government that would protect them from the disruptions of technological change and globalization.

.. much of Trump’s policy agenda contradicts his core philosophy. Trumpism is all about protection, security and order. But many of Trump’s policies would introduce more risk into people’s lives, not less.

Contradicting Trump on Russia: Russian Officials

“I have nothing to do with Russia,” he told reporters on Thursday. “To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.”

The denial stands at odds with statements by Russian officials, who have at least twice acknowledged contacts with aides to Mr. Trump before the election.

.. The dispute began two days after the Nov. 8 election, when Sergei A. Ryabkov, the Russian deputy foreign minister, said his government had maintained contacts with members of Mr. Trump’s “immediate entourage” during the campaign.

.. More recently, Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey I. Kislyak, told The Washington Post that he had communicated frequently during the campaign with Michael T. Flynn

.. “This is a nonstory because to the best of our knowledge, no contacts took place, so it’s hard to make a comment on something that never happened,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House spokeswoman, said on Monday.

.. The New York Times and other news outlets reported last week that Trump campaign advisers and other associates of Mr. Trump’s had repeated contacts last year with Russian intelligence officials. Those reports, citing anonymous current and former American government officials, were vigorously denied by the White House.

.. On Thursday, Mr. Trump made clear his annoyance when questioned about contacts with Russia.

“How many times do I have to answer this question? Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia,” he said during a White House news conference.

Listen Closely: Donald Trump Proposes Big Mideast Strategy Shift

In a separate passage, one in which Mr. Trump clearly was following a script rather than freelancing, he said: “We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments, folks.”

 After wasting “$6 trillion” in Middle East fights, he said, “our goal is stability not chaos.”

.. On their face, these statements suggest:

— An end to the effort to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, for the effort to throw out Mr. Assad is nothing if not an effort to topple a regime.

.. — A warmer relationship with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, a strongman who has demonstrated an unmistakable ferocity in his own fight against Islamic extremism

.. — A policy toward Iran that doubtless will be hostile and include an attempt to dissolve the Obama-negotiated deal on nuclear arms, but one that won’t include regime change in Tehran as an explicit goal.

.. Aaron David Miller, a longtime U.S. Middle East envoy and now vice president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, says this Trump approach will be “transactional.” By that he means it will use whatever means are necessary to transact the specific deal on the table, whether that deal is ending the Islamic State threat or retreating from the Iranian nuclear agreement without provoking a war.

.. The Trump formula also suggests an approach unburdened by the need for consistency or adherence to any ideological framework. One problem with that approach, though, is that it is full of inherent contradictions and potential unintended consequences.

.. So teaming up with Russia and tolerating Mr. Assad in Syria to defeat Islamic State could have the unintended consequence of further empowering Iran—much as the war to topple Saddam Hussein in Iraq had the unintended consequence of clearing the path for expanded Iranian influence in the region.

.. That won’t please America’s Persian Gulf allies, who abhor Iran’s leadership, and surely isn’t the goal of Mr. Mattis and incoming national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, whose antipathy toward Iran’s clerical regime is well documented.

.. “If you end the Iran deal you’re going to end up with a lot of awkwardness and unpleasantness with Mr. Putin,” says Mr. Miller.